Friday, October 26, 2012

Taking the “Bait” at Bait and Hook NYC

By: Anne M. Raso

The moderately priced Bait & Hook Seafood Shack recently took over this prime location from the much-missed Meatball Factory (reviewed here about a year ago). We loved the DIY genuine "seafood shack" appearance right down to the men and ladies' room, which looked like they were made of leftover supplies from a construction site down by the Jersey Shore. The lobster trap hanging from the ceiling as well as other nautical touches make Bait & Hook both casual and cozy.
Lobster trap hanging from the ceiling
My dining partner and I started out with the nicely golden Fried Ipswich Clam Bellies, served with both tartar sand cocktail sauces. The batter was classic Southern style--simple and freshly made (a half-portion is $7). We followed the clams with a Roasted Baby Beet Salad ($9). The beet salad was the winner here, as it featured lovely finely chopped pieces of fresh mint and pistachios, as well as ultra fresh goat cheese. One could eat this healthy salad every day of the week and not get bored--it is just that fresh tasting, and filling as well!
Roasted Baby Beet Salad
For the main dish, we shared the super-generous Lobster Roll (seasoned with mayo, chives, lemon zest and butter) which was clearly had the most generous portion of sweet lobster meat I have ever seen on this type of sandwich--clearly, it had at least six ounces of lobster meat whereas most seafood eateries use less than three! It's not cheap at $21, but people have been flocking to Bait & Hook for this item. For those folks REALLY into lobster, there is also the Lobster Mac n' Cheese--made with Havarti, Gouda and Cheddar ($16).
Lobster Roll
Next up was the wonderful Chicken Waffle Sandwich ($12), which was served with black pepper maple syrup, Tabasco mayonnaise and a generous portion of Field Greens on the side. The golden battered fried chicken breast on the tender waffles was a winner. This item was awesome --the chicken was incredibly moist and there was no greasiness.
Chicken Waffle Sandwich
Along with the Chicken Waffles, we ordered a side of Roasted Brussels Sprouts ($5), which were topped with Gruyere--these were tender tiny sprouts, which tasted a lot like roasted chestnuts (the mini sprouts tend to get that creamy texture and nutty taste when baked or roasted). This was a large portion--about two full cups.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
To finish off the savory portion of the meal, we shared the Classic Pizza made of fresh mozzarella, tomato sauce and basil ($8)--and we highly recommend it if you like a pizza with next-to-no crust. It barely has one--but it's thin and crispy. The portion is also generous--about 9 or 10" in diameter.

Classic Pizza
There are only two desserts served at Bait & Hook--Banana Pudding and Rocky Road Brownie A La Mode (both $6). The pudding is served with several delicious homemade vanilla wafers and a dollop of homemade whipped cream on top while the brownie a la mode features homemade vanilla ice cream, warm chopped pecans and homemade roasted marshmallows. The texture of the brownie is almost like it has a layer of plain old-school fudge in the center with a toasted upper layer--this is pure chocolate heaven. Most brownies have that overwhelming "death by chocolate" taste--this one was perfection. We'd vote this dessert one of the best comfort food sweet treats in New York. (Yes, it's THAT good!)
Rocky Road Brownie a la Mode
Bait & Hook offers warm service and the food comes out of the kitchen quickly! Take out "bait" and head over there for a casual and fun meal you won't soon forget!

Bait & Hook
231 East 14th Street
New York, NY 10009
(212) 260-8015 

Bait & Hook on Urbanspoon

Photos: Anne Raso

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